Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation Names New Board Members and President

Find out who the new board members, Maggie Burrows and Ellenore Scott, are and how their expertise will contribute to the organization.

By: Aug. 08, 2023
Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation Names New Board Members and President

Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation, the not-for-profit foundation of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society has revealed that Seema Sueko has been elected SDCF President, joining Board Officers Mark Brokaw (Vice-President and Secretary) and Sharon Ott (Treasurer).  Also elected to the Board of Trustees are Maggie Burrows and Ellenore Scott, who join fellow SDCF Trustees Justin Emeka, Laura Penn, Maria Torres, and Victoria Traube.


“It’s an honor to serve in this volunteer capacity and to intentionally practice solidarity,” shared Sueko. “Solidarity recognizes that we are in this together. At any time in our lives, we might have surplus resources, and at any time in our lives we might experience great need. It is essential that we all participate no matter where we are in that wheel of surplus and need. When we practice solidarity, the wheel can turn smoothly and advance us all.”


“I am thrilled by Seema’s appointment, as well as by Ellenore and Maggie joining the Board this year,” said Dani Barlow, SDC Foundation Director. “The work SDCF does to support directors and choreographers throughout their careers continues to be essential to the future of the field. With Seema’s leadership and the guidance of all our exceptional Board members, we will continue to provide strong, thoughtful, and necessary resources to artists across the country.”


SDCF most recently launched the revitalized SDCF Professional Development Program (formerly the Observership Program). This program provides vital opportunities to emerging and early career directors and choreographers. SDCF also administers the Lloyd Richards New Futures Residency for mid-career BIPOC directors and choreographers interested in artistic leadership. SDCF offers virtual and in-person public programs such as one-on-one conversations, panels, networking opportunities, and the SDCF Podcast Series. SDCF awards include the “Mr. Abbott” and the Gordon Davidson for Lifetime Achievement, in addition to the Zelda Fichandler, Barbara Whitman, Breakout, and Callaway Awards. SDCF also created an Emergency Assistance Fund which has provided support to SDC Members and Associate Members.


Founded in 1965, Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation (SDCF) celebrates, develops, and supports professional stage directors and choreographers throughout every phase of their careers. We work to build a theatrical community that reflects the cultural, racial, and gender diversity of our nation by creating opportunities for artists of all backgrounds to bring their full, authentic selves to their work as creative leaders in the theatre. Visit our website:

SDCF Board of Trustees


Seema Sueko, SDCF Board President, grew up in Honolulu with a Pakistani father and a third generation Kona-Japanese-American mother. She received her Master’s Degree in International Relations from University of Chicago. Between 2004 and 2020, Seema served as Deputy Artistic Director of Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., Associate Artistic Director of The Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena, CA, and Co-Founder and Executive Artistic Director at Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company in San Diego. Currently, she is studying Solidarity Economy and exploring ways to make theater that maximize social profit. She received the TCG Alan Schneider Director Award in 2022 and balances work as a freelance theater artist and consultant with caregiving for her parents. She is a Co-Curator with DNAWORKS as well as an “Immortal” with Kaimera Productions, and she is adapting the novel SONG OF THE EXILE by Hawaiian writer Kiana Davenport into a play with jazz music. Seema is honored to serve as Board President of SDCF and as a member of the Executive Board of SDC. She believes that in addition to having one’s basic needs met, art, exercise, and love are daily essentials. More information about Seema’s work can be found She is represented by Max Grossman at A3 Artists Agency.


Mark Brokaw, SDCF Vice-President and Secretary, has directed Broadway productions including Simon Stephen’s Heinsenberg, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Nicky Silver’s The Lyons, After Miss Julie, The Constant Wife, Reckless, Cry-Baby. New York premieres include works by Douglas Carter Beane (As Bees in Honey Drown), David Auburn, Lynda Barry (Good Times Are Killing Me), Charles Busch, Julia Cho, Lisa Kron (2.5 Minute Ride), Kenneth Lonergan (This is Our Youth, Lobby Hero), Craig Lucas (The Dying Gaul), Nicky Silver, and Paula Vogel (How I Learned to Drive, Long Christmas Ride Home). New York work includes the Public, Playwrights Horizons, Vineyard, Manhattan Theatre Club, Second Stage, Roundabout, Signature, New Group, Atlantic and Encores!. Regional includes the Guthrie, Seattle Rep, Center Theatre Group, Yale Rep, La Jolla, Steppenwolf, Berkeley Rep, Sundance Theatre Lab, Kennedy Center Sondheim Celebration and the O’Neill Theatre Conference. He has directed at London’s Donmar Warehouse and Menier Chocolate Factory, Dublin’s Gate Theatre and the Sydney Opera House. He has received the Alan Schneider Award presented by TCG, a National Artists Residency Grant from TCG/Pew Charitable Trusts, and Obie, Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel awards. Mark was the artistic director of the Yale Institute for Music Theatre, and is an Artistic Associate of Roundabout Theatre.


Sharon Ott, Treasurer, is an Associate Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University and served as the Chair of Dept. of Theatre from 2017 until August, 2021. She currently serves as the Artistic Director for the department. Before coming to VCU, she was a Professor in the Performing Arts Dept. at Savannah College of Art and Design and was also the Artistic Director for that department. She led two major west coast theatres (Berkeley Repertory Theatre and Seattle Repertory Theatre) for 21 years before shifting her focus to academia. She has directed at major theatres across the US, including the Manhattan Theatre Club, The Public Theatre, the Huntington Theatre, South Coast Repertory, Utah Shakespeare Festival, the Mark Taper Forum, Ford’s Theatre, Arena Stage and many others. Her directing work has received many awards, including several Bay Area Theatre Critics’ Award, Hollywood Dramalogue Awards, the Elliot Norton Award, Seattle Footlight Awards, and an Obie Award (with Theatre X- Milwaukee for A FIERCE LONGING). She accepted the Tony Award for Berkeley Rep as Outstanding Regional Theatre in 1998. She has also directed operas at Seattle Opera, San Diego Opera, and Opera Colorado. Her directing work in academic theatre has twice received citations for Outstanding Direction by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (for FAHRENHEIT 451 at Savannah College of Art and Design) and SHE KILLS MONSTERS : VIRTUAL WORLDS (with Dorie Barton and Wes Seals) at VCU. She was a long time Executive Board Member of SDC and received the President’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Union in 2019.


Maggie Burrows is a theater and film director living in New York City. She received her B.A. from Yale University, where she was a nominee for the Sudler Prize for Excellence in the Arts. She is a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, the inaugural 2018-2019 BOLD Resident Director at Northern Stage, and the recipient of the 2018 Boris Sagal Directing Fellowship at Williamstown Theatre Festival. In 2020, in collaboration with the Roald Dahl Story Company, Maggie co-conceived and produced James and the Giant Peach with Taika and Friends to benefit Partners in Health. Select theater credits: TRAYF (Geffen Playhouse), On Your Feet! (The Muny), Indecent (Juilliard), Damsels (Williamstown Theatre Festival), The Sound of Music (Northern Stage), Spacebar (Wild Project). Film work includes her short Condolences and a GOTV video for Michelle Obama’s When We All Vote organization. Upcoming: Man of God (Williamstown Theatre Festival), Legally Blonde (The Muny), Zoe Sarnak and Alexis Scheer’s Shook, and Mark Sonnenblick’s new musical Devotion.


Justin Emeka is an Executive Board member of SDC and the Resident Director at Pittsburgh Public Theater where he directed August Wilson’s Two Trains Running in 2022  He has worked at many theaters around the country including:  Yale Rep, Old Globe, Karamu House, Seattle Rep, Syracuse Stage, Philadelphia Theater Company, Seattle Theater Group and Classical Theater of Harlem. He has taught or directed at Juilliard, NYU Grad Acting, Skidmore, University of Washington and presented workshops to many different theater programs.   Some of his favorite directing projects include:   A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo n Juliet, Wedding Band, The Bluest Eye, Death of a Salesman, Paradise Blue, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Sweat, Sunset Baby and Macbeth.  He is a member of Equity and SDC and holds an MFA in Directing from the University of Washington.  At Oberlin College he is an Associate Professor of Theater and Africana studies.

Laura Penn Laura Penn has been Executive Director of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC) since 2008. This year, she was appointed by President Biden to serve as a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. Most recently, she was elected to the Board of the Entertainment Community Fund.

Under her leadership, SDC’s Membership has grown more than 100%, a result of her work expanding jurisdictions; leading bold and successful negotiations; and furthering the Union’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) initiatives and political engagement. She serves on the General Board of the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) and is an active member of DPE's Arts, Entertainment, and Media Industry Coordinating Committee (AEMI). She is co-Chair of the Coalition of Broadway Unions and Guilds, the first woman to hold a leadership position with this coalition of 18 influential unions representing workers on Broadway.


Laura serves on the Tony Awards Administration Committee and is a Tony Voter. She served as a panelist for the New York State Council for the Arts, for more than a decade was a site evaluator for the National Endowment for the Arts, was Vice President of the League of Resident Theatres, and was two-term Chair of the Seattle Arts Commission. Recognized with Seattle’s Distinguished Citizen Medal, she is an advocate for civic dialogue and public participation and has been dedicated throughout her career to the idea that artistic excellence and community engagement are intrinsically connected. Laura previously served as an arts executive for Intiman Theatre and Seattle Repertory Theatre and began her career at D.C.’s Arena Stage, Living Stage Theatre Company. She currently teaches Labor Relations in the graduate program at the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale.


Ellenore Scott’s Broadway credits include: Funny Girl, Grey House, Mr. Saturday Night. Off-Broadway: Little Shop of Horrors, Titanique (Lucille Lortel nomination). Most recently co-directed The Lonely Few at The Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. Other choreography credits include: So You Think You Can Dance?, Single All the Way (Netflix), Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical. Scott’s work has been seen at The Bushwick Starr, The Old Globe, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, McCarter Theatre, Cherry Lane Theatre, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Cape Fear Regional Theatre and Seattle Repertory Theatre. As a performer, Scott appeared in numerous television shows (So You Think You Can Dance?, Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Smash, The Blacklist, Glee!) and danced with Janet Jackson. @helloellenore


Maria Torres’s extensive career as director, choreographer, instructor, and Producer began as a critically acclaimed performer, contributing choreography while performing in the film Dance With Me, with the six-time Tony-nominated Broadway musical Swing! Choreographer of Disney’s Golden Mickey, Best of Both Worlds, Man of La Mancha, Torres was nominated for a 2018 Ovation Award for Best Choreography for Luis Valdez’s Zoot Suit, is a Lucille Lortel & Carbonell nominee of Four Guys named Jose, The Donkey Show and Celia, the musical based on the life of the late Cuban singer Celia Cruz. Torres received accolades as Associate Choreographer for the Broadway & Touring productions of On Your Feet, the Oscar-nominated film Enchanted, the musical film Idle wild, the showcase for the Tony Award-winning In The Heights, and Choreographer on So You Think You Can Dance in the US and Canada. Choreography Medal Award for So You Think You Can Dance, Choreographer for Amazon’s "The Tick", CBS "EVIL", AMC TURN Washington Spies Torres also co-conceived, choreographed, and directed the Magic of Salsa Kingdom and the Off-Broadway hit Latin Heat. Recently, she directed and choreographed the new musical Havana Music Hall, Sol of El Barrio, Jacob’s Pillow and served as dance consultant for Summer: The Donna Summer Musical on Broadway. Torres is Board executive and Artist's Associate at The Rosetta LeNoire’s Amas Musical Theatre, Board member of EnGarde Arts,a proud Executive Board member of SDC and the League of Professional Theatre Women. Her life is documented in the Jerome Robbins’ Dance Oral History Project at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. She is now artist-in-residence with the Performing at Library @Lincoln Center for the “Legacy Project”.

Victoria Traube is Executive Vice President, Business and Legal Affairs of Concord Theatricals, North America. She is responsible for the business and legal affairs of Concord Theatricals, Rodgers & Hammerstein, and Concord’s motion picture and television division. She started work at The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization in 1995 when it was still owned by the Rodgers & Hammerstein families. From 1987 through mid-1995, she was Vice President and Head of New York Motion Picture and Theatre Business Affairs for International Creative Management, Inc., where she worked with Sam Cohn.  Before that she was Senior Counsel and Director of Business Affairs for Home Box Office, Inc. and an associate at the New York law firm of Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison. She received a special Mr. Abbott Award  in 2019 from SDCF. She is a member of the Honorary Advisory Committee of  SDC, and a Trustee of The God Bless America Fund.  She previously served as Theatre Chair of the American Bar Association’s Forum on the Sports and Entertainment Industries and Chair of the Entertainment Law Committee of the Association of The Bar of The City of New York. She co-wrote the theatre chapter in “The Essential Guide to Entertainment Law: Dealmaking” (2018 Juris Publishing). She has taught seminars and spoken on panels on theatre and motion picture law and business affairs at Columbia Law School, Wesleyan University, New York University, the SDC Foundation, and the ABA Forum on the Sports and Entertainment Industries, among others. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she was a member of The Law Review, and Radcliffe College.


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